30 Pilots in 30 Days: Grey’s Anatomy

Had I seen it before: No.

What IMDb says: A drama centered on the personal and professional lives of five surgical interns and their supervisors.

Why I picked it: Shonda Rhimes is one of the best showrunners currently working in tv and I’ve enjoyed some of her other work. Grey’s Anatomy is one of those shows I used to think I was too cool for, but after thoroughly enjoying the first four seasons of Scandal I was like “damn I should watch everything Rhimes has done, she’s a blessing to this world.” I even watched Crossroads.

I also wanted representation of one of the most common types of dramas: the hospital drama. I understand why writers love hospitals. The stakes are always high. Doctors are well-respected by pretty much everyone, so it’s easy to make a protagonist out of one. But because it’s such a common setting, it seems like it would be difficult to set one hospital drama apart from the sea of others. I’m curious to see if/how Grey’s Anatomy does that?

What I liked: I will give this one credit. It punched me in the gut and gave me the feels. The tense moments were indeed tense. The sad moments were indeed sad. It held my attention and resonated with me on an emotional level, which always counts for something.

The pilot also does a good job of establishing future conflicts. Meredith Grey has fucked her attending, and clearly they’re going to keep fucking regardless of what Meredith tells herself now. There will be rivalries with other interns. Meredith has to deal with her sick mother. We have interesting conflicts.

What I didn’t like: Despite being in a lot of interesting situations, Meredith herself is not particularly interesting. We have absolutely no idea what’s motivating her to become a surgeon. They try to get around this by having her say shit like this:

I can’t think of any one reason why I want to be a surgeon, but I can think of 1,000 reasons why I should quit. They make it hard on purpose. There are lives in our hands. There comes a moment when it’s more than just a game and you either take that step forward or turn around and walk away. I could quit, but here’s the thing… I love the playing field.”

Basically Meredith can’t explain why she wants to be a surgeon to us… she just does. And I get that in real life, this situation can happen in a wide variety of occupations. But if your occupation is writing, it is literally your job to explain shit. Having your characters acknowledge that you didn’t bother to give them a proper motivation doesn’t fix the problem.

I don’t particularly like or dislike Meredith. I don’t understand why she does the things she does. The only things that make her interesting have nothing to do with her actions, but just the situations she is thrust into, and that doesn’t make for a good protagonist.

Do I want to watch Ep. 2: No. Not because the show itself didn’t entertain me, but because I’m sure if I kept watching it would become another  guilty pleasure I don’t have time for. Being really into Scandal for four season was bad enough for my sleeping patterns and I don’t want to know the toll that 13 Seasons of Grey’s Anatomy would take on me. 

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